We know: you likely won’t have to look too hard to find a Realtor in Bend, Oregon or most anywhere else, provided we aren’t talking about farm properties in the Arctic Circle. What’s hard is finding a Realtor who not only is good at what they do but also understands you and your needs intuitively.
Choosing a Realtor is a very important decision, and it’s also a very personal one. Your cousin’s best friend’s sister’s coworker’s fiance may have just gotten their real estate license, but we always recommend interviewing multiple agents whether you’re planning to buy or sell a home.
As you’ve probably recognized, we are indeed a real estate company based in Bend, Oregon. We’re not going to tell you, though, that you just need to cut to the chase and hire us.
We’re here to offer you tools that will help you make your own informed decision. We want to be an oasis of detailed, reliable, and actionable information in the oft-desolate wasteland of generalizations, half-truths and re-directs that is the Internet.
Toward that end, we’ve prepared a list of five questions to ask your prospective Bend Realtor before you sign on the dotted line. Some of these apply mainly to either buyer’s agents or seller’s agents but might be good to ask in either case so you can get a better feel for how your agent handles their business.
Without further ado, here’s the five questions you should be asking if you’re trying to find a Realtor in Bend.
Question #1: How Well Does Your Realtor Know Bend’s Real Estate Market?
This one should be obvious enough, but we do live in an era when anyone can claim to be an expert about anything. With the proliferation of web portals like Zillow, Redfin, et al, anyone can watch the market. But there are a few different layers to this question.
First of all, how well does your agent know Bend, and in particular the part of Bend where you want to buy or sell a home? Knowing how to get around is one thing. Google Maps makes that easy enough, but the more personal and market-driven context your agent can give you, the better.
Two micro-neighborhoods may look pretty similar on the surface, but there are different considerations that might make or break a particular location if you’re a buyer. These small details can also have a major impact upon value, and there’s no way that the big national property sites can take everything into account.
Question #2: What Advantage Does Your Realtor Offer Over the Competition?
Sometimes people assume that all Realtors offer pretty much the same services. There are problems with that assumption, though. If your prospective Realtor struggles to tell you how they’re unique, that should be a red flag.
Be wary of sales numbers and empty platitudes. There is no “Midas touch” that comes from big name recognition, especially in this age of unfettered access to listings. Hiring a big name often means hiring a big team, and while some teams are well-oiled machines, a gap in accountability can often result.
Question #3: Is Your Realtor Willing to Negotiate on Real Estate Commissions?
99% of the time, real estate commissions come from the seller’s side, so this question doesn’t apply as much if you’re interviewing a buyer’s agent. Still, it could provide both you and your would-be Realtor some interesting food for thought.
In Bend, as with most markets around the United States, a 6% commission is still pretty much the unspoken default. 5% and even 4% commissions are becoming more and more common though.
Not every property requires the same investment of time, energy, and money in order to market it effectively. As a seller, what matters the most is how much you can net from the sale of your home. If you can pay less and get more, isn’t that a win-win situation?
Question #4: How Much Does Your Realtor Actually Know About How Homes are Built?
This question is a little bit unfair, granted. Real estate and construction are two distinct career paths, and their skillsets don’t necessarily overlap.
What does overlap, though, is the subject matter, and this seems like a good opportunity to outline the difference between a salesperson and an actual agent. A salesperson’s job is to make a sale. Some superficial knowledge about the product they’re selling is necessary, but a more detailed understanding can actually be a hindrance.
Some Realtors, unfortunately, are salespeople. If a client is interested in a home, they won’t try to stop them, even if some things may not seem quite right. It can be a matter of passing the buck to the inspector: they’ll find out it something is seriously wrong, no further questions needed.
An agent’s job, though, is to look out for their client’s best interest. Whether or not that leads to a sale isn’t the point. How can a Realtor look out for your best interest if they don’t know what they’re looking for?
Question #5: Who Does Your Realtor Work With?
There are two different sides to this question, both of them important. First of all, it’s pretty much the norm for established agents to have teams working under them. Oftentimes, however, the leader of a team will interact extensively with clients in the initial stages but then become more scarce once you’re in contract.
These kind of set-ups can work fine in some cases. Teamwork makes the dream work, and having people with varied and complementary skillsets working to help you find or sell your home is a good thing. Ask your prospective Realtor what kind of team they’ve put together, and have them name names.
Still, it’s important to know that the buck stops somewhere and that you’ll be able to have your Realtor on speed-dial nights and weekends if things get sticky. Ideally, your agent will be directly involved in each and every aspect of your transaction, even if they have help around the office. That’s the model we follow, and we think we have a pretty good set-up.
The Bottom Line: Is Your Realtor a Good Fit for You and Your Situation?
After asking all of the above questions, you’ve hopefully got a pretty good idea of what your would-be Realtor is all about. The next, and most important question, though, is one that you need to answer yourself.
A Realtor may say all of the right things, but if it just doesn’t feel like a good fit, that’s definitely something to pay attention to. This process is about your intuition as much as anything else, but hopefully we’ve given you some tools that you can use to match what’s in your gut with the facts on the ground.
No two real estate markets are exactly alike, and your Realtor needs to know what makes Bend’s market tick.
We’re presenting all of this information not as a marketing tool but because it’s a good way to give you good information, and it’s also a way to help you get to know us better.
If what you see here vibes with your intuition then we’re happy to schedule a time to chat and answer these and any other questions that you might have. We don’t want to just talk about us, though–we’re here to listen and find out about what you’re looking for and what makes you tick.
Even if you’re just in the preliminary stages of maybe considering a purchase or sale down the road, we are happy just to be a resource for you. Just contact our Bend office–we are ready to help, wherever you are in your process.